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Author Topic: After the CQ: AR or K ?  (Read 12052 times)
WA7RBC
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« on: August 19, 2011, 06:46:15 PM »

I noticed in this document:

  http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=173&func=startdown&id=367

it says sending a "K" after a CQ is just plain wrong, instead you must end your CQ with the prosign AR.  For instance, sending CQ CQ CQ de WA7RBC K  is bad form.

Other sources say the opposite; for example John's (K3WWP) tutorial  at

  http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/cw_ss_proc.html ,

and I tend to think John has got it right.  I know it's a minor point, but what do you guys think?
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 05:28:30 PM by WA7RBC » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2011, 08:01:29 PM »

Weeeeelllll.... for 55 years I and MANY, MANY others always finish a CQ by AR K.

AR has been used for decades for saying "end of transmission" and the K is used for "over to you."

When you are in a QSO AR has always been used to say "end of transmission" and KN is used to say over to you and you only.  Example..... "DL4TPO DE K8AXW AR KN"

If a K station, for example me... K8AXW,  was to call CQ and simply end it with K, then the person waiting for me to finish will hear "DE K8AXW K8AXW K8AXW K

Someone waiting for the CQ to end would just set there and wait, thinking I was sending my call for the 4th time.  Which would give someone else an opportunity to jump in and beat you to the contact!  See what I mean?

On the military circuits, back in the day when CW was king, all transmissions were ended with AR K for the same reasons.

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K7KBN
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2011, 10:28:29 PM »

On the military circuits, back in the day when CW was king, all transmissions were ended with AR K for the same reasons.

I don't know about military communications before the 1960s.  We Navy RMs were taught that AR means "I'm done sending and I'm not expecting a reply."  On the other hand, K means "Your turn.  Go ahead; I'm listening."

"AR" and "K" are two prosigns with completely different and mutually exclusive meanings.  Transmissions had to be ended with "AR" OR "K", but never both.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
N2EY
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2011, 05:21:22 AM »

"K" after a CQ.

K3WWP has it exactly right. His desccription is what *hams* do.

It's really simple:

"K" is used after a CQ

"K" is used during a QSO when it's OK if others jump in.

"KN" is used during a QSO when it's *not* OK if others jump in.

"AR" is used after replying to a CQ, before contact is established.

It makes no sense to send "AR K". it just wastes time. What does "AR K" tell the world that "AR" or "K" by itself does not?

"SK" is used at the end of a QSO (but *before* the callsigns)

"CL" is used at the end of a QSO when you're shutting down and not listening any more.

All my paper Handbooks since 1948 say the same thing.

"AR" has a second use: In formal message handling, it is sent after the signature to indicate the end of a *message*. It is then followed by either "B" (more mesages to follow) or "N" (no more messages).

73 de Jim, N2EY


« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 07:51:25 AM by N2EY » Logged
K7UNZ
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2011, 08:21:58 AM »

N2EY has it exactly right!

However, I have to keep reminding myself that while there are traditional procedures, the contesting attitude has invaded everything and a whole lot of ops don't bother with any prosigns at all.

It's not unusual to hear a never ending CQ these days, i.e. CQ CQ de K-XXX K-XXX, with no ending at all.

So, in a way, I guess something is better than nothing (hi).

73, Jim/k7unz
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K8AXW
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2011, 09:03:58 AM »

Goes to show that doing something for 50+ years doesn't make it right!!  However, I will actually LISTEN to CW QSO endings from now on!
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AA4PB
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2011, 09:52:04 AM »

"On the military circuits, back in the day when CW was king, all transmissions were ended with AR K for the same reasons."

Not in the Navy or Navy MARS it wasn't. AR means "no reply expected" and K means "reply expected". You would be severely chastised for using AR and K together to end a transmission just the same as if you used "over and out" on voice.

The usage of AR on ham radio has traditionally been different than the military and to me seems not to be so clear cut.

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K0RS
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2011, 03:10:55 PM »

The usage of AR on ham radio has traditionally been different than the military and to me seems not to be so clear cut.

Exactly.  Which has probably led to confusion.  Let me second the opinion that N2EY has it right.  An example of correct usage would be:

CQ CQ de K0RS K

K0RS de N2EY AR (AR is used here before two way contact is established)

N2EY de K0RS R TU OM RST QTH NAME etc AR N2EY de K0RS K

Note that AR has two different meanings in the example.  In the first instance it is similar to K, but indicates that two way contact has yet to be acknowledged.  In the second instance it indicates "end of text" with only ID to follow.

All that being said, it is unusual that today QSOs follow such rigid and stilted protocol.  Most contacts are much more relaxed and less formal, and I think that is not necessarily such a bad thing!

Note AR and K are never used together!  That would be the equivalent of the horrible "over, over" on phone.  One or the other, please.

Another pet peeve of mine is CQ CQ de XX0XX KN.  What the heck does that mean?!? Huh  Since KN means "go ahead only the station called," who exactly is the station called in a CQ?  Please, just K after a CQ!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 11:57:56 PM by K0RS » Logged
WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 03:33:54 PM »

I've been active on CW for 45+ years and I agree with N2EY also.

"K" after CQ.  It means, "Invitation to transmit," and that's exactly what you're doing: Inviting someone -- usually anyone -- to transmit.

No reason for the "AR;" obviously if you're inviting someone to transmit, you're finished sending.

The way "the military" does a lot of things is terrible.  However, I cannot recall military operators calling CQ as part of any military operation.
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W6UX
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2011, 10:19:23 PM »

Wow excellent question and very helpful replies.

Is it good or bad to apply these same conventions to digital modes like RTTY and PSK31?

-Jeff
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K0RS
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2011, 01:00:00 AM »

the contesting attitude has invaded everything and a whole lot of ops don't bother with any prosigns at all.
It's not unusual to hear a never ending CQ these days, i.e. CQ CQ de K-XXX K-XXX, with no ending at all.
73, Jim/k7unz

I don't think that is exactly true.  Many CW QSO procedures evolved when FCC rules about IDing were much more strict.  Also, back in the day, traffic handling was king with the ARRL and they promoted more formal QSO protocols that tended to follow traffic handling conventions.  Given both these realities, it made sense that QSOs followed a much more rigid format.

Since CW traffic handling is a lot more rare these days, it seems natural that QSO conventions have become more relaxed.  Like blaming Bush or Obama for every conceivable national problem, people who dislike contesting tend to blame contesting (or DXing or no-code newbies, ad infinitum) for every possible thing they perceive as wrong with amateur radio.

Contesters do in fact eliminate prosigns where meaning is obvious.  So?  Saving time is paramount in a contest, so why repeat prosigns where unnecessary?  It's simply pragmatism.  DX stations, particularly DXpeditions do it too, to speed things up.  It doesn't mean you have to do it in your casual conversations.  But likewise it doesn't mean contesters or DXers need to follow your conventions if they aren't situationally appropriate.
                                                                    
I was a bit rushed when I wrote my original reply (late for work!) and since have had an opportunity to download the IARU paper on operating and procedure.  While I have great respect for the authors, I noted at least one other error in their paper, namely the use of SK at the sign off.

They contend the appropriate method is “K0RS de N2EY SK”

Not so.  If you want to be technically correct (and I don’t think this is a big deal), the final transmissions should be something like:

Jim:  OK CUL 73 SK K0RS de N2EY K

Me:  TNX JIM GE SK N2EY de K0RS

Note no prosign needed at the end of my final transmission unless it might be CL for closing station, advising others not to call.

Thank goodness we don’t get graded on this stuff!


  
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 08:10:22 PM by K0RS » Logged
KC9TNH
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2011, 05:06:56 AM »

"AR" and "K" are two prosigns with completely different and mutually exclusive meanings.  Transmissions had to be ended with "AR" OR "K", but never both.
From an historical perspective I have to agree, and with K0RS' examples. Even a simple acknowledgement on a TTY - without needing anything else in return - would simply be RGR AR or R AR.
K = A reply is EXPECTED. (emphasis mine)
AR = This is an end-of-message (the whole thing) function, most often seen after the 2nd (of only two) [BT]s in the message that delineate the raw text of the message being passed.

Both of these have their implied tasks on the receiving end:
- if you got K, you need to give the sender a reply
- if you got AR, that's the end of his/her traffic.

Most of these protocols seem to have morph'd the same way as regional jargon over time. Use military protocols or not; I certainly hope no one sits around marking demerits in a log because someone concludes a general call - not used in the military as WB2WIK points out - with K or [AR]. The military protocols have their place and are very useful in traffic handling where ACCURACY and BREVITY are paramount. Likewise in a net, where the initial call from NCS should end in [AR].The same little gal sitting in a shelter on the back of a truck who can't seem to get a RTTY circuit to come up good enough, with only the amp & a candle for warmth, might still have to pass the same message with her key. Standards shine in such circumstances.

After getting licensed & falling in love with CW (and the old 100wpm Kleinschmidt days fade) ham use seems to favor brevity also in areas of its choosing. Otherwise why would we use [BT] in such cavalier fashion, yet [BK] so incorrectly in regular practice? If you want to be very polite you could even replace the TNX (and the more terse TU) with TKSVM, like the Brit TTY operators always did. They're like that.
 Smiley
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
K8SI
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2011, 01:02:56 PM »

To simplify a little further, think of it this way...K = "Over", AR = "Out".  All you Military/MARS types will recognize the difference there...
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N2EY
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2011, 04:07:31 PM »

 Many CW QSO procedures evolved when FCC rules about IDing were much more strict.  Also, back in the day, traffic handling was king with the ARRL and they promoted more formal QSO protocols that tended to follow traffic handling conventions.  Given both these realities, it made sense that QSOs followed a much more rigid format.

Agreed.

But there are still reasons to do things a standard way. If nothing else, it minimizes confusion.

people who dislike contesting tend to blame contesting (or DXing or no-code newbies, ad infinitum) for every possible thing they perceive as wrong with amateur radio

Contesters do in fact eliminate prosigns where meaning is obvious.  So?  Saving time is paramount in a contest, so why repeat prosigns where unnecessary?  It's simply pragmatism.  DX stations, particularly DXpeditions do it too, to speed things up.  It doesn't mean you have to do it in your casual conversations.  But likewise it doesn't mean contesters or DXers need to follow your conventions if they aren't situationally appropriate.

Agreed.

I noted at least one other error in their paper, namely the use of SK at the sign off.

They contend the appropriate method is “K0RS de N2EY SK”

Not so.  If you want to be technically correct (and I don’t think this is a big deal), the final transmissions should be something like:

Jim:  OK CUL 73 SK K0RS de N2EY K

Me:  TNX JIM GE SK N2EY de K0RS

Note no prosign needed at the end of my final transmission unless it might be CL for closing station, advising others not to call.

Exactly. Not only would the CL prevent a call, it could prevent hurt feelings. (If the CL is not sent to indicate "closing station", and another station calls but gets no response, it might be thought "why is s/he high-hatting me?"

73 de Jim, N2EY
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N2EY
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2011, 04:19:42 PM »

"AR" and "K" are two prosigns with completely different and mutually exclusive meanings.  Transmissions had to be ended with "AR" OR "K", but never both.
From an historical perspective I have to agree, and with K0RS' examples. Even a simple acknowledgement on a TTY - without needing anything else in return - would simply be RGR AR or R AR.
K = A reply is EXPECTED. (emphasis mine)
AR = This is an end-of-message (the whole thing) function, most often seen after the 2nd (of only two) [BT]s in the message that delineate the raw text of the message being passed.

Both of these have their implied tasks on the receiving end:
- if you got K, you need to give the sender a reply
- if you got AR, that's the end of his/her traffic.



I like the use of brackets to indicate the letters are run together with no space.

On NTS nets, using standard ARRL message format, a message ends like this:

(preamble and address are whole stories in themselves)

.....AND BE SURE TO TELL DADDY TO SEND MY CHECK X LOVE AND KISSES

[BT]

MUFFY

[AR] N

or

.....AND BE SURE TO TELL DADDY TO SEND MY CHECK X LOVE AND KISSES

[BT]

MUFFY

[AR] B

In the traffic-handling context, [AR] means "end of message". The "N" is used if there are no more messages, while the "B" indicates "more to come".

The receiving station would reply with "R" (only if copied solid) or with requests for fills.

CW traffic handling is a real barrel of fun *if* the ops involved know what they're doing.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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